OT: OK, now I want an otter. The charming “Ring of Bright Water”

Ring of Bright Water

Ring of Bright Water (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have my ice pack on my shoulder and pain meds in my system and enjoying some nature therapy. The 1969 film Ring of Bright Water has been on this afternoon and I found it quite delightful. Starring real-life couple Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna (of Born Free fame) and based on naturalist  Gavin Maxwell‘s book, the film chronicles the story of Graham (Travers), a  jaded Londoner, who adopts an orphaned otter, a situation that does not work very well in his London flat.

Graham, who has always intended to write a book, decides to move to the Scottish highlandswhere he and Mij the otter live in a ramshackle cottage. Graham manages to keep putting off writing that book (instead, he works on fixing up the place, he sketches Mij and takes notes about his unusual pet).  He also meets

Derelict bothy at Sandaig Sandaig is an evocat...

Derelict bothy at Sandaig Sandaig is an evocative place because this is where Gavin Maxwell wrote the famous book 'Ring of Bright Water'. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the very attractive town doctor, played by McKenna, and the three, along with the good doctor’s spaniel,  become fast friends.  There are orphaned geese which Graham rather ham-fistedly attempts to teach how to fly, and his harpooning of a toothless shark in hopes of feeding Mij (too bad it turns out he doesn’t like shark steaks) amongst other adventures.

It’s a sweet, humorous and touching film suitable for all ages, with beautiful scenery and a scene-stealing performance by Mij. Dang it, that otter is just tooooo cute.

Maxwell's Otter. The memorial to Gavin Maxwell...

Maxwell's Otter. The memorial to Gavin Maxwell - a very appropriate statue of an otter, beautifully sited on a promontory overlooking Luce Bay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

9 responses »

  1. Ohhhh that sounds great! I have got to see this ASAP!!! Thanks Angie, keep the fantastic recommendations up! You have the Good Taste Gene so we can’t go wrong with your choices! 🙂

  2. This is honestly TOO weird Angie! When we lived in Ullapool in the Western Highlands of Scotland, believe it or not I actually “met” one of Gavin Maxwell’s otters!! I can’t remember all the circumstances but I think our local doctor somehow knew him through a mutual friend, IF my memory serves me correctly. (This was in the ’60’s after all!) I was at a friends bakery one day and one of the customers was this woman who had an otter in her car. I had already read the book as Maxwell also lived on the West Coast. Who the woman was I have no recollection but I do remember being told it was one of his otters and she brought it out of the car so we could pet it!! What stuck in my mind was the fact that the woman kept kissing it and had left some of her pink lipstick on its fur!! It’s fur was amazing to touch but it sure smelled of fish – no doubt because that is what it ate! 🙂 Small world indeed!!

    If you look check on this link you will see that this is the area where he lived and that it is not many miles from where we lived in Ullapool.


    Be sure to check it out as there is also a picture of a Pictish Broch which is situated right across the road from the home of old friends of ours!! Our kids used to love exploring there! 🙂 Fascinating area!!

    • Thanks so much for sharing all this, Teutcher. 😀 What a small world it is. It looks like such a beautiful part of the world, too. Those otters did look so touchable. I loved how expressive Mij managed to be in the movie.

  3. I can remember seeing this film many, many years ago, and it’s one I’d like to revisit. Thanks for the reminder, angie, another title for my Quickflix queue!

  4. A Richard connection: I watched Elsa the Lioness that changed the world yesterday on YT (narrated by Richard of course) and Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers played the lead roles in the movie “Born Free” based on Joy Adamson’s book about Elsa…

    • I remember well the theme song for Born Free from my childhood. “Born free, as free as the grass grows, as free as the wind blows, free to follow your heart . . .”:D

      • I can’t remember seeing the film. I might have when I was very young. We had the book of course. In the documentary they showed the covers of all the foreign language translations of the book, and the Hungarian edition was put right next to the original English book. My heart skipped a beat! 🙂 Interestingly, according to the documentary, Virginia and Bill became animal right activists through their involvement in the Born Free movie.

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